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Home Beer Beertown, U.S.A.: Bend, Oregon

Beertown, U.S.A.: Bend, Oregon

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Sunriver Resort

 

The picturesque Deschutes River courses through this outdoor playground, providing a pristine water source for the 12 breweries that call this central Oregon town of 80,000 people home. 

By Brian Yaeger

IF YOU’RE AN OUTDOOR ENTHUSIAST…

One of the newest breweries is Crux Fermentation Project, where brewmaster (and Deschutes alum) Larry Sidor creates a range of native styles (expect to find a handful of IPAs on at a time) and foreign-inspired ones such as the Flanders red. The patio is the place to be during Sundowner, Crux’s version of happy hour, but is it the unimpeded view of the sun setting on North Sister’s volcanic peak or Double Cross Strong Dark Belgian Ale that connects you to the cosmos? Either way, the rustic, gooey Grilled Cheesy is a religious experience. GoodLife Brewing has a massive beer garden that’s almost a beer field, ideal for lounging with some pints of the pitch-perfect Mountain Rescue Dry Hop Pale Ale. Order a few appetizers such as the bourbon-baked Brie and hop-infused hummus (uh-huh) and make a picnic of it. Bend is regarded as a mountain biker’s paradise, but if you’re less about the single track and more one-track-minded about beer, saddle up for the Cycle Pub to take a pedal-powered spin along the Bend Ale Trail—giving new meaning to Boneyard Brewing’s fêted RPM IPA—for an experience that’s Flintstones-meets-Cheers. Start one of your days on the patio at McKay Cottage on the shore of the Deschutes and indulge in something sweet (croissant French toast) or savory (Baja chicken hash stack). Grab a muffin from the bakery to go. End your day at the Old St. Francis School, a hotel centrally located and in the vein of all the preserved McMenamins locations. It retains its 1936 Catholic school charm, updated to a rustic lodge replete with its own brewpub, cigar bar and movie theater and, for those weary bones, a soaking pool. The adventurers at Wanderlust Tours take you spelunking down into the Lava Caves or paddling on the Cascade Lakes while—talk about synergy!—guiding you through Cascade Lakes Brewing’s beers on the Views and Brews Canoe trip (visit in winter for Shoes, Views & Brews, even if snowshoeing sounds like more work).

IF YOU HAVE KIDS IN TOW…

Crux

Few craft breweries are as big as Deschutes Brewery, so even kids love the tour of the 150-barrel brewhouse that keeps the world awash in Black Butte Porter and The Abyss. Afterward, dine at the original brewpub established in 1988 a mile away, featuring a thoughtful kids’ menu and jaw-dropping tap list of exclusive pub beers. At 10 Barrel Brewing, wash down your pizza with a sensibly hoppy India Session Ale; your kids’ pies are served on Frisbees. Arrive early for a spot by the patio’s fire pit, where even the family pooch is welcome. To refuel, get your first meal at The Victorian Café, known simply as The Vic. The creative Benedicts (imagine duck medallions on a potato pancake with roasted onion hollandaise) are pretty as a picture even when your eyes aren’t fully open, and even the kids’ menu offers tantalizing options. Come evening, the menu at Jackson’s Corner always reflects the season, even in its stellar brick oven pizzas. If your kids are carnivores, come on Thursdays for the always-different Burger Night special; you’ll get a chance to ogle a draft and bottled beer selection that’s impressive, especially for a family- friendly resto. The accommodations at Sunriver Resort truly accommodate every member of the family. This 3,300-acre community resort offers a spa, golf, bike trails and a kid-tastic lazy river. To top it off, they just added the Sunriver Brewing Co.

IF YOU CALL YOURSELF A LOCAVORE…

The bar top at Worthy Brewing, Bend’s latest brewery, is funny-farm fresh; it’s built with reclaimed old-growth Doug fir from the Oregon State Insane Asylum, the very spot where “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was filmed. Even crazier, the folks behind Worthy have built a greenhouse and are growing herbs, vegetables and hops for use in their kitchen and brewery. The Ale Apothecary is not so much a farmhouse brewery as a mountain brewery, built in the woods by Paul Arney, who left Deschutes to launch his one-and-a-half-barrel brewery. This wild man’s wild beers are wildly popular. Arrange a visit for your best chance to find creations like Sahati, made in a hand-carved spruce tree trunk that served as the beer’s mash tun. In addition to fruits and vegetables, Below Grade beers are always fresh at the NorthWest Crossing Saturday Farmer’s Market (late June to late September). Enjoy a tasting flight right at the market; owner/brewer Dean Wise and his wife Bridget are on hand with six taps and are happy to sell you a growler or refill your old one. The Cascade Culinary Institute’s student-operated farm-to-table restaurant Elevation serves sustainable cuisine that changes seasonally—pray it includes the bacon beignets. Book now for fall; this spot requires advance reservations. The Oxford Hotel is an “eco-chic boutique hotel” where staples like mattresses and shampoo aren’t just earth-friendly, they’re produced right in town. When it comes time to rest your head, select from a flight of pillows to find the one that’s right for you.

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